US asks Poland to extradite Roman Polanski

AP News
|
Posted: Jan 07, 2015 9:20 AM

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland has been asked to extradite filmmaker Roman Polanski to the United States, where he is wanted on 1977 charges of sex with a minor, an official said Wednesday.

Spokesman for the prosecutor general, Mateusz Martyniuk, told The Associated Press that the request from Los Angles prosecutors was being forwarded to Krakow, where Polanski's case is handled.

In October, Krakow prosecutors refused a U.S. request to arrest Polanski, 81, but questioned him and obliged him to turn up on every summons. Polanski was in Warsaw for the opening of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and then traveled to Krakow, his childhood city.

The Oscar-winning director plans to a movie on the Dreyfus affair, the early 20th century French spy scandal, in Poland in February and March.

One of Polanski's lawyers, Jerzy Stachowicz, said Wednesday that the team would contest the extradition bid. Martyniuk said that as a rule Poland does not extradite its citizens.

In December, a judge in Los Angeles rejected Polanski's bid for a new hearing.

Paris-born to Polish Jewish parents, Polanski spent his childhood and youth in Poland but lives in France. He holds Polish and French passports, but his movements are restricted by an Interpol warrant in effect in 188 countries. He travels freely between Switzerland, France and Poland.

Polanski pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful sexual intercourse, and was sentenced to prison for a 90-day psychiatric evaluation. He was released after 42 days and, fearing the judge would force him to serve the remainder of the sentence, he fled from the United States.

In 2010 Switzerland refused to extradite Polanski, though he spent 290 days in jail or under house arrest while the case was considered.

Polanski won an Academy Award for best director for his 2002 film "The Pianist" and was nominated for 1974's "Chinatown" and 1979's "Tess." His "Knife in the Water" was nominated in 1963 for the best foreign language film Oscar.